ZZ Plant Not Growing

ZZ plants are generally low-maintenance and easy to care for, but that does not mean that problems will not arise at some point in the plant’s life. There are some problems that may even affect the plant’s growth, so why is your ZZ plant not growing?

The growth of ZZ plants may be affected by the time of year, improper lighting conditions, fluctuations in temperature and humidity levels, issues with the plant’s soil, improper watering of the plant, pests and diseases affecting your plant, and the plant being root bound can all slow the growth.

ZZ (ZAmiculcas zamiifolia) plants are native to East Africa and therefore require the environmental conditions from this region. So, problems with the growth of this plant can easily arise; let us go through them in more detail.

Remember The Plant’s Growth Rate

So, you think your ZZ plant is not growing? Are you sure about that? We need to remember that ZZ plants have a very slow growth rate in general, so your plant may be growing, but you may not notice its growth as it is extremely slow.

Usually, ZZ plants will only grow a few inches per year, so it may take a few years for you to notice any substantial growth from your plant. If you do not notice any growth from your ZZ plant, you may need to be patient, but if your plant shows any other signs like discoloration in the leaves, then there may be a different problem that you need to take care of.

Why Your ZZ Plant May Not Be Growing

There are several different reasons why your ZZ plant may not be growing or may have stunted growth. Most of these issues are easy to fix and will not damage your plant in the long term, but they still need to be fixed.

Let us look at the problems that could affect the growth of your ZZ plant and how you might be able to fix it and bring your plant back to perfect health.

Users Also Read: ZZ Plant Humidity

The Time Of Year Matters In Plant Growth

ZZ plants, like most other houseplants, will only grow at certain times of the year. We need to remember that just because the plant is indoors, that does not mean that its instincts do not work. The plant will still act according to its natural growth cycles.

During the winter months, your ZZ plant will go dormant, and during this period, the plant will not grow as it is trying to conserve energy to survive through harsher environmental conditions.

So, if you are checking the growth rate of your ZZ plant in the winter or right before the plant begins to go dormant, you will not notice any substantial growth in your plant. The best time to measure your plant’s growth would be between spring and fall.

Improper Lighting Conditions

ZZ plant in the dark

Having the right lighting conditions in your ZZ plant’s environment is essential to the health and growth of the plant. You need to ensure that your ZZ plant receives the correct amount of sunlight every day if you want your plant to grow properly.

ZZ plants can survive in a wide variety of lighting conditions; however, if you want to help encourage its growth and not have it simply surviving, you need to provide your plant with sufficient light.

For your ZZ plant, the best sunlight conditions are full-day bright but indirect sunlight, and it can tolerate a few hours of direct sunlight if needed. If your plant is not receiving the right amount of sunlight, this can cause stunted growth.

To rectify this, you need to gradually move your plant to better light conditions as this will help avoid shocking the plant. You should begin to see an improvement in your plant’s growth in a few weeks.

Issues With ZZ Plant’s Soil And Nutrients

The soil that you plant your ZZ plant in is essential for its growth, as this is where the plant absorbs its nutrients. If the soil your plant is in is depleted, lifeless, and does not have the correct nutrients in it for the plant, then the plant’s growth will be stunted.

You also need to ensure that your ZZ plant is in well-draining soil as the plant prefers drier soil, so the soil needs to drain any excess water quickly while also retaining just enough water for the plant to survive.

So, if the soil is draining poorly or lacks good nutrients, then your plant may not grow correctly. The recommended soil to use for ZZ plants is ¾ organic potting soils, ¼ succulent potting soil mixes, with a handful of fertilizer or compost for added nutrients.

Fluctuations In Temperature And Humidity

ZZ plants tend to thrive in temperatures that humans are comfortable in, so generally speaking, if you are comfortable in the room, then so is your ZZ plant. If the temperature in the room begins to decrease, then so will the growth of your ZZ plant.

If the temperature in the room drops below 55 degrees Fahrenheit, the growth of your ZZ plant will stop completely. As the room temperature decreases, so will the humidity in the room, which will further affect your plant.

In the winter months or cold weather, your ZZ plant will require more care to survive. You can use a humidifier to ensure the air is not too dry for your plant and you and keep the plant away from heating systems, so the leaves do not burn.

Your ZZ Plant May Be Root Bound

zz plant rootbound

With ZZ plants, the size of the pot they are in can affect their growth rate. If their pot is too small, this will constrict the growth of the plant’s roots, making the plant root bound, which will slow the rate of the plant’s overall growth.

If the pot is too small, this can also lead to the soil being depleted of nutrients faster, affecting the plant’s growth. If your plant’s pot is too big, this can easily lead to overwatering the plant, which can also stunt the plant’s growth.

ZZ plants should only be repotted when their roots are growing out of the pot’s drainage holes, as this is when the roots need to be given more space to grow. When you repot your ZZ plant, you should only go one pot size bigger, so you avoid planting it in a pot that is too big.

Improper Watering Of The ZZ Plant

ZZ plants are generally easy to water, but this care requirement can become challenging if you do not follow a few simple rules. ZZ plants are perfectly fine surviving when they are slightly underwatered, but if you overwater them or underwater them for too long, there can be several problems.

If you underwater your ZZ plant regularly, this can dehydrate your plant and cause the plant’s leaves to become discolored. The ZZ plant’s leaves may turn yellow or brown, and this situation will stress the plant, causing a significant decrease in growth.

ZZ plants cannot tolerate being overwatered, this will lead to the leaves turning yellow and the soil and roots being suffocated with water, which will affect the amount of nutrients that can flow through the plant. This will cause the ZZ plant to go into shock and will negatively affect the plant’s growth.

To make sure that your ZZ plant is not overwatered, you need to let the soil dry out completely before you water it again, and then when you do water the plant, water it thoroughly.

Also Check: Best Soil For ZZ Plant

Pests Or Disease May Be Affecting Growth

ZZ plants are generally hardy to pests. However, there are occasions where aphids and root rot can plague them. If your plant is unhealthy as it is infested with pests or has a disease, this can negatively affect your plant’s growth or stop the growth completely.

Aphids are the pests the plant is more likely to be attacked by, and these pests can suck the sap out of your plant, dehydrating it and causing the plant’s growth to slow down to try and conserve nutrients and water.

You need to ensure that you contain the pests by moving the plant away from other houseplants, and then you can begin treating the infestation. Take your plant outside and spray it with a strong garden hose to get rid of the pests. Prevent the pests from returning with a neem oil spray.

If your ZZ plant has a disease like root rot, then your plant’s growth will be affected as root rot prevents the plant from absorbing enough nutrients to sustain the plant’s growth. To treat root rot, you need to repot your ZZ plant, and while the plant is being transplanted, examine the plant’s roots.

If you see any diseased roots, carefully trim them off with a sharp pair of garden shears or scissors to prevent the disease from spreading. Then place the ZZ plant in its new pot and ensure you stick to a watering schedule for the plant to prevent this from occurring again.


ZZ plants are generally healthy and hardy plants, but a few issues can arise if the plant is not cared for correctly. Most of these problems can affect the growth of the plant by slowing it or completely stopping it. If you provide the care requirements this plant needs, then it should begin to grow normally again. Good luck with your ZZ plant!